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Published April 30, 2018

Was Anyone else out there a fan of Xmarks? It is was a wonderfully simple tool that allowed you to keep your bookmarks in sync between browsers and devices. And the best part – it was free to use!

Lo and behold, March 30th 2018 they drop this bombshell:

Xmarks update

On May 1, 2018, we will be shutting down Xmarks. Your account will remain active until then, including the syncing of your bookmarks. After that date, your bookmarks should remain in any previously accessed browser, but they will no longer sync and your account will be deactivated.

Such a shame.

As a long time user of Xmarks I scrambled to find a suitable replacement to no avail, so I made one myself!
syncmarx logo
Download Alpha for Firefox:
ย 
Download Alpha for Google Chrome:

(Funnily enough “syncmarks” was taken, Although I think the ‘X’ is a nice homage to Xmarks)

Syncmarx leverages existing cloud file hosting services to make this entire process “free” (currently limited to Dropbox). You authenticate with the cloud file host, and your bookmark data is saved to a file. As bookmarks are created and deleted, your bookmark tree is compared against the most recently uploaded file on a schedule that you specify. Finally, sync timestamps are compared to see if the data should be merged or overwritten.

So my fellow ex-Xmarks users please give it a try! I can certainly use some testers, since I had to push this out quickly before Xmarks kicked the bucket. Hopefully this fits the use case for some of you like me who are looking for a simple bookmark solution (primarily just keeping Chrome and Firefox bookmarks in sync automatically). Also note that this add-on is built using the Web Extension API, so as more browsers become compliant it may be possible to expand further.

Unfortunately this API does not support things like tags, keywords, and descriptions, etc. Personally I don’t use those anyway, but I do hope it fills in the gaps for those seeking simplicity!

Further ramblings-

Perhaps Xmarks was doomed after having been purchased by LastPass in 2010, who knows. These days if a software product doesn’t generate revenue its days are pretty much numbered.

In any case I loved Xmarks, and with only a month to find an alternative I struggled to find a replacement with the following criteria:

  1. Free to use
  2. Unlimited bookmark storage
  3. Runs automatically
  4. Uses native browser bookmarks
  5. Support for Firefox and Chrome

No I do not want to use a special interface for my bookmarks. No I do not want a suite of other tools. I just want to see the same bookmarks menu and toolbar in Google Chrome as I do in Firefox.

So I made my own extension. I created syncmarx to do the bare minimum I need it to do, and that’s to provide automatic native bookmark synchronization for free between Firefox and Chrome.

Syncmarx is just in alpha now, so I could certainly use some testers to help me give it a whirl! If people like it enough perhaps I’ll eventually make a mobile app for viewing bookmarks on the go ๐Ÿ™‚

Learn more by checking out the syncmarx homepage below:

https://syncmarx.mcleodgaming.com/

 

 

47 Comments

  1. Ascar Ascar

    Greg,

    I accidentally created 2 profiles. I need to get rid of one. How do I do that? I may get confused what profile is what and destroy my bookmarks.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      You can delete the profile from your syncmarx folder in Dropbox. Just make sure you select a different profile within the extension first so it doesn’t get re-created. I also recommend you take an occasional backup of your existing bookmarks while the extension is in alpha state just be safe.

      • Ascar Ascar

        Great, it worked for me. Thank you.
        If need be – may I also rename the folder in Dropbox and effectivelly have the profile name changed?

        • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

          Yes, but you’ll also have to choose the newly renamed profile from within the extension UI as well. Otherwise the extension will continue to use the old name and re-create the file (i will add a built-in renaming capability to the to-do list). Alternatively you can just create a new profile first, force-push, then delete the old one.

  2. Jack Jack

    Unfortunately, while I had hoped this would fit the bill, I had to go back to manual bookmark management after a month with this extension. There were 2 times that my bookmarks totally disappeared and the blank folders synced across browsers and machines, forcing me to restore from backup. I’ll be keeping an eye on this in hopes it evolves into something both great, and profitable for you. For me, I just can’t take the risk at this time.

    • Jack Jack

      Oops, typo. I meant a week, not month.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Sorry to hear that, it will be some time before Syncmarx will be ready for the jump from from alpha to beta. I’ll certainly keep working to iron out these issues, as I use this extension myself on a daily basis. Thanks for at least giving it a try!

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Just a heads up that I have since fixed the majority of “bookmark disappearance” issues in the latest version 0.3.0!

  3. Jeso Jeso

    Thank you so much for creating this extension, love that I’m able use profiles. Keep up the good work.

  4. Sullivan Beck Sullivan Beck

    I’m so pleased you wrote this! I have been looking for something to replace Xmarks since before it went away, and it was frustrating that there was nothing out there that fit my needs. I tried several, but, after seeing how a company (actually two companies) were able to arbitrarily throw xmarks bookmarks away, I really wanted something where the bookmarks were hosted on something I controlled. Having them on dropbox is a great first step!

    Have you got the source somewhere public (gitHub?) where people can contribute? I’d love to see this somewhere where I could potentially help out. I’d especially be interested in seeing if I could get the bookmarks stored on something self-hosted (probably Nextcloud). Also, having it on gitHub would relieve one concern I have with any solution… namely that it might disappear at any time like Xmarks did.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Happy to be of service! The source code is not published as of yet, but it is certainly not off the table. For the time being I am just focused on getting it past the alpha state since I don’t think it’s quite ready to have too many cooks. I can assure you though that I have no plans to discontinue this extension any time soon since I use it myself every day.

  5. phat. phat.

    HI Greg,

    I am trying to set up the sync for firefox, but I cant get it to work at all I keep getting “Failed to pull bookmark data”.

    This is my setup.
    On chrome
    1.) Created Profile on chrome, (it seems like it works although sometimes doesn’t synce)
    2.) Select the profile to use.
    3.) As I already had bookmarks I force push initially. and it worked.

    On firefox.
    1.) Install plugin
    2.) select profile
    3.) force pull and i get the message “Failed to pull bookmark data”.

    any ideas.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Thanks for the report, there are a small subset of users reporting the same issue. I’ve made an update (0.3.1) to improve error messaging today so hopefully we’ll get a clearer description.

  6. Kowalski Kowalski

    Hi Greg,

    I’m trying to use syncmarx for some days now. Your idea is pretty much what I’m looking for after de retirement of Xmarks. I don’t want all those crap bloatware that other “famous” alternatives push down our throat.

    But I must say that it’s not 100% yet. I was able to install it in Chrome and the first pull, to send all my bookmarks, was fine. But after that, no sync is running. Neither in Chrome nor in Firefox. I had hope that v0.3.0 would solve that, but no luck yet.

    Let me know if you need any other information to debug what could be wrong . I’ll be glad to help you.

    • Kowalski Kowalski

      Seems that “Force Push” is working, but not “Force Pull” or sync

      • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

        Ok, this sounds consistent with a small portion of users. I pushed v0.3.1 today to improve error messaging a bit to help debug

        • Kowalski Kowalski

          Hi Greg,

          No luck yet with 0.3.1. I got just “Failed to sync bookmark data”.

          Have tried to erase an recreate the profile. Push keep working as intend. But only push. No pull or sync.

          Could it be a language issue? I’m from Brazil, but I only use PT-BR units. System and apps are in English.

          • Kowalski Kowalski

            Hello Greg,

            Version 0.4.0 looks promising. Finally was able to sync 2 different browsers.

            Great work!!

  7. Ramone Ramone

    For an Alpha release, at least for me it has been stable and does everything you said it will do. I agree with @Ascar that it needs a delete function in the UI – Nice job for your first extension! Looking forward to beta and GA

  8. Bob Dylan Bob Dylan

    Amazing work Greg, I found this extension in a buried comment in the Xmarks replacement thread on Reddit. I’ve tried all the alternatives and all of them is not what I wanted. I haven’t extensively used this yet, but so far so good.

    I was wondering if you can post changelog somewhere, to keep up to date with the extension

  9. kinghat kinghat

    does this have the ability to set browsers to only push and other browsers to only pull?

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      It does not have this ability to explicitly set this. But currently the way the sync process works is that when you make changes in one browser and sync, those changes are pushed to Dropbox and considered the “source of truth”. All subsequent syncs from other browsers will be considered outdated and pull in changes based on that source. I can see there being some advantages to having options to be “push only” or “pull only” to avoid potential mishaps. However if you consistently only make bookmark changes in one browser then that one is effectively the “push only” browser.

  10. phat. phat.

    hi is there any luck fixing the force push, or sync in firefox, I keep getting Failed to sync bookmark data

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      I haven’t quite pinpointed why this happens yet on some machines but I’m working on it ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. TOOOOOOOOOOR TOOOOOOOOOOR

    You update syncmarks to addon with compatible Vivaldi Browser & Opera Browser. I have Opera, Chrome, Vivaldi & Firefox and have problem with Sync for all browsers.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Vivaldi is not officially supported yet since it handles bookmarks a bit differently than Chrome, but it’s in the pipeline. Same goes for Opera

  12. Henry Henry

    Great work!! Any plans to make a Safari extension?

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      I will definitely be looking into it, though at the moment I’m not sure if Safari’s extension API is compliant with the open bookmark API standards

  13. rupe rupe

    lots of praise out there for syncmarx and i’m fired up to try it. any chance of a version for Pale Moon?

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Thank you! Unfortunately Pale Moon doesn’t have support for WebExtensions, and likely never will according to their forums. Because of this I don’t see it happening, however perhaps once I open source this project (which will be soon!) someone may decide to fork a Pale Moon compatible version of syncmarx. My main goal with this project was cross-compatibility between browsers, and since Pale Moon uses a unique API unfortunately I can’t invest the time in taking on that task.

  14. t4oqui t4oqui

    Hi!

    I’m having a problem trying to do “force pull” from firefox 61.0.1 (64-bit).

    I’m getting “Failed to pull bookmark data”, still working this plugin?

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Yes, I’m still working on the plugin and will see if I can reproduce the problem.

  15. t4oqui t4oqui

    I see in the console plugin this errors:

    Could not map contract ID ‘@mozilla.org/fxaccounts/push;1’ to CID {1b7db999-2ecd-4abf-bb95-a726896798ca} because no implementation of the CID is registered. components.manifest:160

    Use of nsIFile in content process is deprecated.
    NetUtil.jsm:302:12

    [Mostrar/ocultar detalles del mensaje.] error occurred while processing ‘sources: TypeError: can’t access dead object
    Stack: createNonSourceMappedActor@resource://devtools/shared/base-loader.js -> resource://devtools/server/actors/utils/TabSources.js:311:1
    createSourceActors/ resource://devtools/server/actors/utils/TabSources.js:399:19
    Line: 311, column: 1

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Hmm, that error doesn’t appear to be related at first glance, but I will definitely log this. I am still working on fixing issues, however this is the first report I’ve seen of this (you may want to disable other plugins temporarily to see if something is interfering with syncmarx)

      • Ricardo Silva Ricardo Silva

        I have syncmarx on my work computer (linux with chrome) , and getting the same error โ€œFailed to pull bookmark dataโ€ on Chrome for Windows 10 on home computer..
        Thanks for the awesome effort.

        • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

          Thanks for letting me know, i’ll get this issue tracked and try to address it in the next update!

  16. Orian Marx Orian Marx

    Just successfully synced 15,710 bookmarks between Chrome and Firefox. If this continues to work I am going to be so thrilled to have an Xmarks replacement! Not to mention that I get to pretend this project was personally named for me ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Glad it’s working for you! And what a funny coincidence ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Harald Gutsche Harald Gutsche

    First of all, thank you for creating this extension. It seems people like us are rare (using chrome and firefox and may be multiple OSes)…no other extension or solution really fits these requirements.

    After using syncmarx successfully on Linux (64bit) for some time now, I tried it on Windows 10 (64bit) and surprisingly it didn’t work. But it worked on Chrome (64bit).

    While trying a lot of things, I looked at the firefox version and…it was 32bit! (installed by chocolatey several months ago).
    So, I uninstalled it and installed a 64bit version instead.
    Now instead of doing nothing it is now heavily syncing (about 7000 bookmarks).

    Btw, I would really like to have a stop button. Because I didn’t want to sync but a pull.
    I am now waiting if the sync does what I would expect (should work, too).

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      I will look for opportunities to add a cancel button, but the backup process tends to be fairly instantaneous. So once the backup file starts being sent to Dropbox then stopping I don’t have as much control over the rest. I will make a note and see what I can do.

  18. Harald Gutsche Harald Gutsche

    I cheered too soon…

    After a long time the sync finished and…all bookmarks were gone.

    Then I could enter “Profiles” and start Force Pull”, resulting in the same error message (“Failed to pull bookmark data”) like with firefox 32bits.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Oh no!! I am so sorry to hear that… Are you able to recover the bookmarks perhaps be going through your Dropbox history? Each time your bookmarks are backed up, it creates a version for that backup file in dropbox. If you find an old version and rename it, then you may be able to recover some of your bookmarks. Just a friendly reminder that this extension is in alpha right now so it’s important to keep a manual backup of your bookmarks before using it.

  19. Harald Gutsche Harald Gutsche

    Interesting thing is, after the bookmarks toolbar is cleared, I seem to always get the first two folders with the second truncated at the first item. However using another test profile, I get some folder from the middle of the original bookmarks toolbar. So, it seems to start but stops.
    May be the reason to stop has something to do with the content of the bookmark?

    […testing…]

    Oh, yeah, the stop happens at the separator, that I used in Firefox on Linux in the original toolbar (where it perfectly synced with Firefox (62) and Chrome).

    The exact sequence of testing:

    * my first use of syncmarx on Windows was with Firefox (62 32bit), where it didn’t work.
    * I tried Chrome where it worked perfectly (and fast, using pull).
    * I pushed it to another profile and tried to pull in Firefox (62 32bit).
    * I installed Firefox 62 64bit and it started to sync, after that the toolbar was empty.
    * I pulled the original profile and got the two folders.
    * I used Chrome to delete the separator bookmark (which is “data:” in Chrome with no title).
    * I pushed in Chrome
    * I pull in Firefox
    * I got more folders stopping again at the next separator bookmark

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      I see, separators are officially unsupported and won’t be backed up, but it’s not supposed to skip bookmarks just because they are located past that separator. I will make a note of this!

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